Samurai swords banned in the Republic of Ireland


A ban on Samurai swords comes into effect from today.

Those caught with the weapons could face up to seven years in prison.

In a bid to cater for collectors, those made before 1954 or at another time by traditional hand-made methods will be exempt.

Irish Times



Talks about potential sword ban started in December 2007 after another high profile attack involving a 'samurai sword'. It is known that Department of Justice had been in contact with local martial arts organisations (Iaido Association of Ireland is particular) is order to avoid unnecessary restrictions for martial arts practitioneers and authentic sword collectors. In the light of recent global trends to regulate possession and transportation of 'samurai' swords (which sometimes comes in quite narrow-minded forms) the new Irish legislation appears to be reasonable, especially taking into account the (more than modest) size of the local sword scene. Mirroring the UK sword ban which was introduced in April 2008 as one of the questionable measures to fight 'knife crime', authentic hand-made Japanese swords (Nihonto) are exempt (however I couldn't yet find any reference to whether sports equipment such as iaito and shinken is to be banned or not).

The real concern is the practical side of the legislation and the way it's going to be implemented. There's been numerous occasions in UK since introduction of the sword ban when law-abiding collectors had trouble importing antique swords. It's perfectly understandable due to the fact that in order for Customs to make sure that it's legal to import a sword, some sort of cerfificate required proving its age and provenance. And the most common cert of this kind (if any) is the NBTHK paper hand-written in Japanese. No wonder Customs officers, sorting office workers and law enforcement authorities would not be able to take it as a supportive documentation without difficult (and costly) translation.And this is the neigbouring UK which is much more accustomed to importing/exporting Japanese collectible weapons than Irish. How many Customs officers and An Post employees were instructed about differences between replica and authentic Japanese swords or even have seen ones? Will they be collector-friendly or take an eBay approach and stop any import of 'illegal samurai-like swords' unless (with immense trouble) proven otherwise? If temporarily or permanently seized, will real Nihonto be given a proper care?

There is no doubt that curculation of cheap and dangerous replica had to be stopped, even with the level or crime involving samurai swords being ridiculously low in comparison to the usage of widely available home utensils.But will the fair treatment of martial arts practitioneers and sword collectors be guaranteed? Time will tell.

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Knives and swords banned on and

There's been the following announcement on eBay site:


From 10th March 2009, all knives and swords except cutlery will be banned from sale on and The definition of cutlery includes those implements which can be used for eating, including cutlery sets, individual pieces of cutlery and antique cutlery.

All other items, including knives used in the preparation of food will be banned, including (but not limited to);

  • antique knives
  • bread knives
  • craft knives
  • Stanley knives
  • camping/ survival/ hunting knives
  • diving knives
  • kitchen knives
  • Swiss Army knives and Leathermans
  • all swords

Under the new policy buyers will be asked to enter credit card details if they attempt to bid on or buy any item of cutlery in the new cutlery category. These details will need to be provided again after six months if the buyer seeks to buy or bid again.

We will be able to determine if the buyer or bidder enters the details of a debit card, solo card or pre-paid card, the types of card most likely to be held by under-18s. If the details of any of these types of cards are entered, eBay will prevent the buyer or bidder from completing the transaction.

If the bidder or buyer enters valid credit card details they will then be given the option to pay using any approved method of payment.

We will be strict in the enforcement of these new policies and any seller who repeatedly attempts to break this policy will face strict sanctions, including possible suspension from the eBay site.

This means no more bargains for Irish and British collectors and researchers, thanks to Government's inability to fight crime.

NihontoClub.Com finds a new home

Dear Members and Guests,

I'm delighted to inform you that NihontoClub.Com has moved to a new server which offers greater stability and performance (for just a little greater price). It's been tough few weeks for me as our former hosting company ( was blocking the site without warning, claiming it was causing performance issues on the server. Due to their rude and inconsiderate approach I decided not to contest this claim but move all the sites to a different hosting provider.

And I can tell you, it's been great so far. It's a VPS (virtual private server), not shared hosting. The site shows much faster response, there is no lag at peak times. Also, using an opportunity to spend some time with the test site I've made quite a few changes which were planned long time ago, but kept being delayed as I would have had to bring the live site down for a while to apply them.

After running the site for almost 2 years by now I have a pretty good idea which resources are popular and which aren't. Some areas like Glossary and Weblink Directory remained too heavy and clunky to use, with few redundant or unnecessary features. This also affected the overall site performance.

Stolen sword

A sword was stolen while in transit from Chicago IL to Austin TX on 6/28/2008:

1st Generation Hizen Masahiro, ca. 1624

See this page for additional information and contact details.

Samurai-Sword Maker's Reactor Monopoly May Cool Nuclear Revival

BLOOMBERG: Japan Steel Works Ltd produces components for nuclear reactors from 600-ton ingots.

The Arms and Armour of Japan: Public Seminar in Leeds

Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds (UK) is running series of public seminars in March-May 2008 with 'The Arms and Armour of Japan' being one of them.

Information from the Royal Armouries website: 

The Arms and Armour of Japan

Japanese arms and armour has functional, decorative and ritual qualities that have fascinated observers since the first Europeans visited Japan in the mid-16th century.

This seminar will use surviving examples to give a fascinating insight into the traditions and techniques of Japanese armourers and swordsmiths.

Ian Bottomley, the recently retired Curator of Oriental Arms & Armour, is expected to be one of the guest speakers.

Saturday 12 April 2008

Opening times:
10.30am - 4.00pm 

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

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We hope that the coming year will be full of good moments and surprising discoveries for you on the long way of Nihonto study.

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